Money and Morals: A Time Line

Capitalism has been used to justify callousness, exploitation,
even slavery. But among the greed weeds grow flowers of generosity
and altruism, proof that capitalism is a human institution that can
occasionally respond to our better natures.

Between A.D. 25 and 32 — Jesus throws the money changers out of
the temple.

1736 — Philadelphia newspaper publisher Benjamin Franklin
organizes the first North American volunteer fire brigade.

July 4, 1851 — The city of Baltimore celebrates the 75th
anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by releasing all
debtors from jail and firing guns in their honor.

1881 — Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie begins construction on a
library in his hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland — the first of
some 2,800 libraries he will fund.

1917 — The National Industrial Conference Board, a business
organization, endorses the eight-hour workday.

1919 — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company starts its Industrial
Assembly, a kind of model House of Representatives designed to give
its 30,000 employees more say in company affairs.

1946 — John D. Rockefeller Jr. donates $8.5 million to the
United Nations for the site of its permanent headquarters in New
York City.

1953 — In his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman,
pioneer Howard Bowen makes the case for corporate social
responsibility.

1978 — The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
creates and coordinates the South African divestiture movement.

1981 — Musician Tom Petty threatens to change his album title
from Hard Promises to $8.98 when MCA tries to sell it for $9.98.
Petty prevails.

1982 — Actor Paul Newman founds Newman’s Own, a for-profit food
company that donates all profits to some 1,000 charities.

1985 — Telecom Working Assets is founded with a social agenda:
to support progressive causes.

1988 — At the request of Mexican coffee farmers, the
Netherlands launches Max Havelaar, the first guaranteed fair trade
label.

1994 — Rugmark Foundation, a nonprofit that works to end
slavery in the rug and carpet industry, is established by rug
companies and human rights organizations.

1997 — Media mogul Ted Turner announces his intention to donate
$1 billion to the United Nations over 10 years.

1999 — Mattel launches research to find organic substitutes for
plastics used in its toys.

2000 — After widespread protests, McDonald’s imposes new
guidelines for its egg suppliers, banning the withholding of food
and water from chickens and phasing out debeaking.

March 2001 — Tobacco giant BAT donates $7 million to the
University of Nottingham to develop the International Centre for
Corporate Social Responsibility.

April 2001 — Tobacco maker Philip Morris launches an ad
campaign to promote its delivery of Kraft macaroni and cheese to
Albanian refugees. Industry insiders estimate that the campaign
costs $1 million, far more than the $125,000 the company spent on
43 tons of noodles and cheddar.

August 2001 — Eleven major corporations, including General
Motors, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont, create the Green Power
Market Development Group, a partnership designed to build
profitable corporate markets for green power.

2002 — Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Presidio School of
Management launches MBA programs in sustainable business.

January 2002 — General Motors pays $100,000 to use a
Chumbawumba song in a Pontiac jingle; the anarcho band donates the
entire sum to CorpWatch and IndyMedia to launch environmental
campaigns against GM.

April 2002 — U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
proposes that the Federal Bureau of Audits survey the financial
statements of all publicly traded companies. The proposal fails by
a vote of 39 to 381.

September 2002 — Thanksgiving Coffee in northern California is
the first U.S. company to switch to a 100 percent biodiesel truck
fleet.

May 2003 — Thirty-nine percent of shareholders in the Yum!
Brands company (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) send a symbolic message
by approving a resolution requiring the company to explain how all
policies will ensure economic, social, and environmental
sustainability.

September 2003 — More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Alabama
voters reject legislation proposed by Republican governor Bob Riley
to shift the state’s tax burden to the rich; Riley cites God’s
mandate ‘to take care of the least among us’ as his motive.

February 2004 — Atlanta-based company Fashion Victim copyrights
the iconic image of revolutionary leader Che Guevara snapped by
photographer Alberto Korda in 1960.

June 2004 — Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Unilever, with the
blessings of Greenpeace and the UN Environment Programme, meet in
Brussels to find alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants.

September 2005 — Jefferson Parish president Aaron F. Broussard
says of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, ‘If the American
government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we
wouldn’t be in this crisis.’

February 2006 — UPS orders 50 hybrid electric delivery trucks,
a shipping-industry first.

March 2006 — The International Organizationfor Standardization
(ISO) announces a new ISO standard for social responsibility.

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